XLS Nutrition – A “Healthy” Way to Lose Weight?

XLS Nutrition – A “Healthy” Way to Lose Weight?

I’ll start by saying this product was gifted to me but, of course, this post and the opinions herein are all my own! Thanks XLS for sending me this product!

Also, as an aside, when this arrived it went to my neighbour who warned me that every time he touched the package white powder came out…I had to explain it wasn’t drugs and I didn’t think anyone was trying to kill me 🤣

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I can hear all my friends shouting “Sellout!” right about now as I have never been an advocate of meal replacement plans – Herbalife, Juice Plus, Slimfast etc.

I think this stems from my unhealthy relationship with food I had as a teenager.

***Trigger warning: I am going to talk about my ups and downs with food which may be triggering to those who have had issues in the past***

To give you a bit of background, at 15 I was 15 stone – I was a BIG girl and it didn’t really bother me until I overheard my highschool crush saying “yeah, her fat arse is always hanging round the common room door!”

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This made me look at myself in a different light and maybe, just maybe if I was skinny he would take time to speak to me (who was I kidding?! No Cinderella Story here! 🙄).

I realised that compared to my friends I was the big one! It didn’t help my periods were ridiculous (more on that on another post maybe?) so I didn’t really do P.E. and I wasn’t athletic anyway as I’m asthmatic and can’t breathe going up a slight incline!

So me being an all or nothing type of person I decided to stop eating regular food and instead survived on diet coke, apples and sugar free chewing gum.

If I had been good I would allow myself a bite or two of dinner but the rest would go to my dog out my bedroom window (hallelujah for living in a bungalow!) or I would dump it in the bin the next day at school.

My lunch money I would save up to buy cigarettes – ya know, that really cool appetite suppressant! – or alcohol (no mixer (calories!), just straight gin or vodka or whatever I could get my hands on!) this all led to another host of issues I had through my teens but again maybe a story for another day?

I also started exercising for at least 2 hours a night. This was in the Dancemat days so I would be flailing around to the songs of the 2000s in my bedroom and doing sit-ups and stomach crunches until I couldn’t move any more.

I was on all the “thinspiration” websites and a religious follower of “Ana’s Way”. I knew all the tricks to pretend I was ok even though, looking back, I know I wasn’t!

My mum did notice a few things over the time and did confront me about it but I just became more careful!

I’m not quite sure how long I kept this up for, I think it was about a year but it’s all very fuzzy due to my mental health and alcohol issues at the time!

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I remember feelings elated when I stepped on the scale and it showed that I went down from the previous week, day, hour…I was obsessed with checking my weight and noting the losses and punishing myself for the gains!

The lowest weight I remember was 6st 9bls but I don’t think this lasted for long. I think my body was just tired and craving food.

I also met my ex who I couldn’t really hide it from as we spent a lot of time in each others pockets.

I started eating meals again, just one a day to begin with but this grew until I became a normal weight and I started to feel myself again.

I don’t really like to say I suffered from anorexia nervosa as I didn’t go through the typical recovery stages but it has definitely left me with lasting scars in my relationship with food.

As an adult who has access to the internet, books, seminars and common sense, I know changing your diet radically, especially if you are reducing your calories, will help you lose weight.

This XLS Nutrition, if used according to the instructions (replacing up to 3 meals a day with a shake and then decreasing this until it’s just one meal) will help you lose weight.

Of course it will! You’re not eating real food! You’ve reduced your calories!

To lose weight you need to have a calorie deficit…that is the entire principal of losing weight. Whether you do this by increasing activity or limiting your food it will work.

Fun Fact: I lost weight while eating McDonald’s 5 days a week (I got free lunch) but this didn’t mean I was healthy!

I don’t think there is such a thing as a Healthy Weight Loss Shake and don’t believe these types of things should be marketed as such.

There is nothing healthy about missing a meal and consuming a shake instead.

Not only that, it’s not really sustainable. Who wants to have to replace their meal for years to come? It is a marketing strategy so you keep buying the product, it’s as simple as that!

You could just have a 244 calorie meal (the amount of calories in a shake) instead.

*Hold up* you can replace 3 meals with a shake to begin with…that’s 732 calories a day! That’s less than half your RDA for an average female! WTF? 😲 I feel hungry just thinking about it!

It’s recommended the ideal calorie deficit for sustainable weightloss is 10% of your calories required for daily maintenance.

So using the average female 1500 allowance, she’d be wanting to be aiming for 1350 calories a day to lose a healthy amount of weight.

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Something to note, weight loss doesn’t always amount to fat loss. Rapid weight loss suggests you are losing muscle too. I guess it depends on what your goals are as to what you would rather care about – i.e. the number on the scale or the way you look and feel.

So in that vein, I’m not even going to say I’ve used this shake for a few weeks and lost weight as I know I would if I follow the instructions.

Instead, I’ve used it in my regular morning smoothie as the main protein source as it claims to have 28g of protein per serving.

It’s strawberry flavoured but it makes my smoothie taste very sythetically sweet, I can only imagine how strong this tastes when you make it just with milk. At least I have yoghurt, fruit and coconut water to dilute the taste a little! It does stop me getting hungry until lunch but the regular protein powder I use does the same thing and tastes better so 🤷 .

I’m sorry this wasn’t really a review as such, it’s just something that upsets me especially as these things are generally marketed at women.

Don’t we have enough to contend with already rather than harming our physical and mental health with these promises of a perfect life if only we lose some pounds?

I’d suggest checking out James Smith on Instagram and Facebook if you want to explore this school of thought a little more as he explains all these types of topics better than I ever could!

I hope you liked this post, it’s slightly more raw than I meant to write and it was pretty difficult for me to share what I went through.

As I’ve said before, if it helps even one person, it has been worth it!

Please let me know what you think in the comments down below and what you would like to see next?

Thanks so much for reading, guys!

Claudia xxx

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The Trials of Murphy 🐕

The Trials of Murphy 🐕
The day we brought him home!

As you guys know, I got a puppy fairly recently and I’ve discovered a few things about him and myself in that time.

I’ve been wanting a dog for my entire adult life, I’ve researched, researched, researched but I’m finding out things “on the job” that I wasn’t quite prepared for!

They don’t come out all trained, the nicely trained 8 year old dog that your friend has was once a boisterous 8 week old pup!

I’m pretty sure everyone knows that puppies are hard work, the world is scary to them, they’ve been taken away from their mum and siblings and are now in a strange environment. Of course they will be unsettled for at least the first few days!

How about for the first 3 weeks?! We made the decision to crate train Murphy and have him in the living room at night so upstairs could be the cats’ domain.

The issue with that was every time he was left alone in a room, he would scream. Not the cute puppy barks you hear on YouTube, actual screaming! He sounded like someone was killing him!

He wouldn’t bark himself out if he was left and he would get so stressed he would pee and poo in his crate! The only thing for it was to sleep downstairs with him!

Honestly, this was left to J most often than not but that’s because he insisted on it.

It wasn’t until about week 3 where we could sneak up the stairs and go to bed but we still leave Netflix on – the dulcet tones of David Attenborough of course! – to soothe him during the night.

He now sleeps through the night and only really wakes up when he hears our alarms in the morning. No more 3am wake-ups to take him out for pee!

He didn’t mind the crate, as long as you were there with him!

I had originally planned to crate him when we were out the house too but due to the aforementioned stress and messing in his crate, we decided not to and instead he got the run of the hall.

Turns out even the hall was too small for him and would get mega stressed with all the doors shut. This led us to opening the kitchen up to him too and it turns out the space is much more agreeable!

He still has puppy pads for when we leave him alone (annoyingly he doesn’t always use them and decides to chew them up instead!) but he is getting better each time we walk out the door!

We do have an issue when we come back in though! This is worse with me and J gets a slightly more chilled version but whenever I come into the room – I could be gone for 2 minutes or 2 hours, it does not matter – Murph acts like I have been gone for days!

With me especially, he jumps up and bites my clothes and will nip my calves in an effort to get my attention and it takes him ages to calm down!

I was definitely not prepared for just how much he wants to be with us. So much so, he has learned how to climb the gate at the bottom of the stairs so I now need to take him into the bathroom to stop him barking at the door or hassling the cats!

How can I say no to this wee face!! 😍

This neediness has definitely gotten worse now he is teething, he seems to want a lot more reassurance and will whine a lot which I think is how he comforts himself.

Even trying to write a blog post or make myself a cup of tea can be a challenge as he has to be right where I am at all times. One of the reasons why I’ve not been as active recently is the pup, it’s just easier to occupy him than write up a post.

Taking photos for my blog is like a military operation now. I need to wait until J is in so I can go upstairs for a few minutes and hope the lighting is alright since I won’t get another chance to do it for a bit!

One of the reasons we got a pup was to hopefully make it easier to introduce the cats to him. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t show any animosity to them but he wants to play with them 100% of the time.

The problem with this is, he tries to play with them like they are puppies too and he can be a bit rough sometimes. A hiss from Charlie is enough to get him to back off but poor Loki is too gentle to tell him off when he’s being over eager!

He is also obsessed with the cat litter tray and will, at any chance he gets, eat a cat poo 🤢. This has got to be one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed, I couldn’t look at him without feeling a little sick for hours!

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One thing I definitely didn’t realise, is how worried I am about him all the time. You see lots of posts on Facebook about the freak accidents where a dog has been killed by trying to lick inside a crisp packet or getting his collar stuck on something in the house which has bred a sort of paranoia in my brain where I check and double check stuff before leaving him alone.

This is a worry I don’t remember having for the cats, except when I first introduced them to each other. I don’t know if it’s because cats are more independent even when they’re young or what but I worry I’m doing the wrong things for him all the time!

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Since getting Murphy, we have become more social that’s for sure! We have lived in our house for just over a year and the only people we have spoken to have been our direct neighbors.

On his first few walks, I think we introduced him to the majority of our area! Lots of people stopped to chat whether they had dogs or not because everyone loves a cute puppy!

We have taken him to dog events and found out how nice other dog owners are when we have been given toys for him because their dog has got enough! Or given us tips on how to make teething easier!

My social skills are definitely being tested and if I can get away with it, I let J do all the talking!

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I know we’re not parents but I genuinely feel a puppy might be more difficult sometimes! At least if you put a baby down, it’s likely they will be in the same spot when you return!

We’re tired all the time, watching him to make sure he’s not telling us he needs to go outside or making sure he’s not doing something he shouldn’t is a full time job in itself!

But in saying this, I wouldn’t change it for the world! He is brilliant! Watching him learn a new trick or doing something we ask is a great feeling and I just know he’s going to turn out to be a great dog. He’s just growing up way too fast for my liking! 💜💜.

I know this is a little different from my usual topics but I hope you like it! I may try to do more Murphy topics if you would like to see that?

Let me know about your pets in the comments below! What’s the one thing you wish you knew before getting a pet?

Thanks very much for reading guys and I’ll speak to you all soon! Don’t forget to check out my other social media pages for updates on the pets!

Claudia xxx

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My Furry Family

Testing Smashbox Cosmetics

Testing Smashbox Cosmetics

There has been a brand I’ve been dying to try for quite a while now – Smashbox Cosmetics!

I’m pretty sure most of us who follow any makeup related channels have seen their posts on social media and their products always look so gorgeous!

They also have the added benefit of being cruelty free but this comes at a price.

I was feeling a bit flush after payday – believe me that feeling is long gone now 😢 – and thought I would treat myself since I noticed they had an offer on.

I only bought two items but it seems you can add free samples to your basket on every order so I look like I bought quite a bit more!

Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick

I have heard amazing things about this liquid lipstick and is pretty much the reason for my entire order!

They have a pretty big shade range – 37 shades! – from nudes to bold to metallic colours.

I went simple and picked up the colour Babe Alert which is described as a “nude rose”.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for my lip colour but better and I definitely think I’ve found it with this one!

The formula of this has to be by far the best I’ve ever tried. I genuinely didn’t realise how drying other ones were before I tried this!

My lips don’t feel tight and I genuinely don’t feel like I’m wearing anything on them!

The applicator is really nice to use and I’ve found makes it really easy to apply.

It claims to be budge-proof for up to 8 hours and it definitely has staying power once it’s dry but I’ve not had it last for that long.

I do tend to eat, drink and vape so that puts anything I have on my lips to the test! I would say it requires less topping up than the others I have tried though!

With this as well, I felt like it was pretty tiny for a full-size product. It’s £19 for 4ml of lipstick compared to the 5.5ml you get from Obsession and that only costs £5…and you get a lipliner with that too.

The comfort factor may make that price worth it though, I guess it would depend what time in the month it was for me to see if I could justify paying the price!

Cover Shot Ablaze Palette

I’m pretty sure when I ordered this, I could only see these shades and I’m slightly sad that since my order they seem to have a much larger range to choose from!

The packaging is really pretty, it has a holographic, changing picture on the front which moves depending on the angle you hold it.

It is tiny though! Genuinely thought they had made a mistake with my order and sent me a sample palette! I had to check online to make sure!

Inside there is 8 warm toned shades in a mix of mattes and shimmers. I’m not really 100% sure I would class them as true shimmers but they’re definitely not all matte!

The shades seem quite pigmented on first application but they blend away to almost nothing so definitely need to build the colour up to achieve your desired look.

I didn’t notice any fallout when I applied these and there was no kickback in the pan either.

The shade range is good but I feel the mixture of matte and shimmer is a bit annoying for the way I do my makeup. It felt like a couldn’t get a full eye look because the mid-brown shade isn’t matte which I prefer for my crease.

This is a good palette for travel as it takes up so little space – perfect for popping in your handbag.

I just don’t know if I feel like it was worth the £24 I spent. I wasn’t blown away with the quality although it is good but I feel there are much cheaper brands out there that do the same job!

Maybe not as expensive as Urban Decay but then an eyeshadow pallette from UD generally has a lot more colours or product for your buck and the shadows perform that much better!

In saying that, I still want to try the Prism, Smokey and Punked palettes in this range, I just can’t justify the price!

Freebies

I managed to get 4 freebies with my order which I think made the price I paid for the full-size products slightly less painful!

I got the Photo Finish Foundation Primer and the Photo Finish Primerizer.

I’ve heard good things about Photo Finish range and was quite excited to try these out.

I think they make a great combination for my skin type. I can use the primer to minimise my pores and the Primerizer to hydrate my dry skin.

They both absorb really easily into the skin and made my makeup sit nice on top.

My makeup lasted through the day but I wouldn’t say it was any better than when I use my MUA primer with my Porefessional from Benefit.

I also received Full Exposure Mascara. I really like the formula of this but the wand is pretty ridiculous! It’s huge!

Every time I used this I found myself getting a lot of product on my eyelid just because it’s so hard to get this to your lashline!

I genuinely feel if this came with a smaller brush this may be one of the best mascaras I have tried as it’s super black and gives so much volume!

Lastly I received Be Legendary Liquid Lip in the shade Crimson Chrome.

I’m not really a fan of lipgloss so I can’t see myself wearing this very often but the colour is gorgeous if maybe a little bold for me!

It’s been so long since I’ve worn lipgloss but the formula isn’t as sticky as I remember it to be which is definitely a plus!

I didn’t wear this for very long just because I’m not a fan of the colour on me for everyday wear so I can’t attest to how long it would last. I imagine it would need topping up through the day and you’d need to be careful when you’re eating to prevent it transfering.

So this was my first Smashbox Cosmetics order. Would I buy from them again? Maybe.

I’m not going to rush out to buy more right now, mainly because of my bank balance but also because it seems really expensive for what you get.

I spent £43 on this order and I recently purchased some things from Revolution for the same price but got so much more for my money I find it hard to justify the price point!

Not that I wouldn’t want more liquid lipsticks or the aforementioned palettes, I just don’t think I’ll be buying them any time soon!

Have you tried Smashbox before? What did you think? Are there other brands you think I should try? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading as always! I know my posting schedule is all to whack just now so please make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a post and to be in with a chance of winning my giveaway prize when I reach 200 subscribers!

Claudia xxx

Deep Sea World – Influencer Evening

Deep Sea World – Influencer Evening

A few weeks ago I received confirmation that I had been successful with an opportunity I had applied for.

The event was being hosted by Deep Sea World, a place I remember fondly visiting years ago!

This was their very first influencer evening and I was able to be a part of it!

***Disclaimer*** although I was invited to this event, all the views in this post are my own.

On the run up to the event, I did think either they were going to revoke my invitation for not being a “real” blogger or the event was going to be cancelled.

Luckily it didn’t! I would love to say I rocked up all calm and introduced myself to everyone but I can’t.

I had been held up in a tailback and already phoned to say I was going to be late. It was hot in the car, it was hot outside. I was a sweaty mess!

Couple that with my social anxiety and I’m not sure I made a great first impression! Oh well, live and learn, eh? 🤣

Deep Sea World is set in a gorgeous location, underneath the Forth Rail Bridge, perfect for photos…

…except I forgot to charge up my phone so my battery died on me half way round the event!

On arrival we were given the Deep Sea World brochure and a lanyard with a 6 month membership.

We waited for any more stragglers and then we started the tour!

First up we got to see the Big-Bellied seahorses being fed.

I really like seahorses, they are so cute! And amazingly graceful, their movements are effortless!

I believe they are ambush predators so they lie in wait for food to get close enough then BAM! They snatch it up!

One of the tour guides, Kirsty, was telling us how they tell the males and females of this species apart.

So I think this one is a male!

The males have rounder bellies then the females who have more of a point. I’m sure I got that the right way round!

We then got to wander round the other tanks for a little bit. In this entrance area there is the open-topped rock pool with numerous different species in it, a tank with an octopus and some other fishtanks.

I’m not going to lie, I genuinely couldn’t see the octopus but I was assured it was there!

There was also a little exhibit on what plastic is doing to our oceans which was quite educational.

Unfortunately some of the exhibits didn’t photograph well, the lighting was too low and I was on battery saver mode to try to get through has much as I could with my phone on 20%!

We then moved into The Swamp. In here we met Godzilla, the snapping turtle. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of him but he literally looked like he was made out of stone and he didn’t move for us.

They are making Godzilla a much bigger enclosure just now but due to the amount of testing they will have to do to ensure its watertight, this might not be ready until after Christmas.

There is also some massive fish in here, I forgot to take a note of the species but they were huge! They didn’t photograph well but trust me, I couldn’t pick one up!

Most of these fish were people’s pets who then asked Deep Sea World for help when they got too big for their tanks!

It’s a common myth that a fish will only grow as big as the tank it’s in! It will continue to grow but if it doesn’t have the space it will be stunted and likely to die prematurely!

This dude was also chillin’ out in The Swamp. I think he is a python, he’s definitely very beautiful!

Next we went through the shark tunnel! I think this is the bit everyone remembers from their visit to Deep Sea World!

It was bliss being able to go through it without screaming children or it being overcrowded and you can’t enjoy it!

We got to see lots of fish, rays and of course the sharks themselves! All 4 made an appearance! The only thing we didn’t get to see is the lobsters but we were told they are very shy!

Tinkerbell is the largest of the four sharks and Aaron is the smallest. There is a way to tell the difference between the males and the females. Looking under their belly, in line with their fins, you can see two protrusions on the male but the female doesn’t have these.

We had a trip to the amphibian room where I spent way too long looking for frogs and gazing at the mysterious axolotls!

I love these guys, they have such cute faces. Because they are able to regenerate tissue they are being studied closely to find out if we can use them in science (that’s something I don’t agree with but not for this post!).

We had a nosy in the classroom where there was a little display and some creatures in suspension. This sort of thing takes me back to my uni days but there was a few who gasped a little bit at these!

We then got to see Kate and her amazing Seals! The grey one is the female who is 27 (I’m sure she said 27!) And the other two are boys and they are much younger!

The female does what she wants most of the time and isn’t asked to do quite as much to get her reward.

The boys are asked to do a bit more but they genuinely seem to enjoy it and the bond they have with Kate is clear!

All the “tricks” they are asked to do are there to help them use the muscles they would use if they were hunting in the wild! So it’s not just designed to be entertaining to us!

I also noticed that they are essentially clicker trained, like you would a dog. Every time they do something, Kate would whistle like using a clicker. I’m struggling with this with my own pup and the moment so amazed it can be done with these guys!

The seals are never witheld food for not doing a trick. But they don’t know that so they gladly do what is asked of them!

We then stopped for a bit of food in the café! There was also some prosecco on offer but I was driving so I had to decline!

The view from the café!

The food was really good! My highlight definitely had to be the fish and chip cone wrapped in newsprint and the caramel shortcake was to die for! But there was pizza, burgers and donuts as well!

We were then split into two smaller groups. My group got to go to the Bare Bones exhibit first of all. This is a temporary exhibit for the summer and is in the carpark itself.

This is a really interesting exhibit with skeletona from different species. Most of them you’re not able to touch but there are some tactile things to keep the kids occupied.

My favourite was the crow, only because I think it’s quite interesting how the beak is still black even in death. This could be because it has spent so long in the sun but Kirsty was unsure.

They had dynamic displays as well, like the frogs leaping.

And the cat, dog and mouse.

There was also some pretty cool artwork on display too!

Lastly, we got to go on a behind the scenes tour. This part of the tour, we weren’t allowed to take any photos, a good thing too, as my battery was dead by this time!

The lighting in this area is lower as it’s an environment for animals to young to be in the main tanks or for those recuperating from illness or as quarantine for any new species being added to the tanks.

We got to see some baby rays that had just hatched the day before and had been bottle fed! We also got to feel an ray egg casing or Mermaid purse. Which was pretty odd to touch!

There was also the opportunity to find out about shark dives which I think I would love to do!

The highlight here was watching the shark tunnel from above. As Kate explains, when you are in the shark tunnel, the creatures look about 30% smaller. When you are above them you can see their full size and the sharks look so impressive!

I will definitely be using my membership over the next few months as I really enjoyed my time here. As the exhibits are constantly evolving you might never see the same thing twice.

The Bare Bones exhibit is included in your ticket price as well just now so I would definitely suggest going while that is still on!

There are also numerous talks and feedings throughout the day and a gift shop so there really is something for everyone!

You can book your tickets and find out more on the Deep Sea World website.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed my first blogger event. I’m so glad I was invited along to this!

I would definitely do things a little differently next time, i.e. make sure my phone is charged and take a notebook so I can take notes as I’m walking around!

That was my plan but I was running late from the vet and had to rush out the door, and I was still late because of traffic! 🤣

I think these events are probably what you make it but I’ve never been very good at making friends in a large group of people. Especially when it seemed everyone else knew each other!

I didn’t speak to people like I thought I would, genuinely thought I’d make some connections with other local bloggers but that didn’t really happen. It seems the internet is easier to crack!

The girls that I did speak to were awesome and I look forward to meeting them again!

Thanks again to the guys at Deep Sea World for having us and making it a great night! This was their very first influencer evening and I think they should be proud as it was a success!

Claudia xxx